Celebrating the birth of the Bab
Highlights of the history of the Bahá’í Faith in Bermuda:
• 1948: Arrival of the first Bahá’í in Bermuda from North America.
• 1949: First Bermudian to embrace the faith whilst a student in Canada, the late Bryan Burland.
• 1953: Establishment of the first Bahá’í administrative institution in Bermuda.
• 1970: Incorporation of the Bermuda Bahá’í Marriage Act.
• 1972: Hosting of the first international teaching conference at the Hamilton Princess Hotel.
• 1976: Acquisition of the Bahá’í Centre in the City of Hamilton.
• 1981: First National Bahá’í Convention to elect the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Bermuda.
• 1983: Bermuda’s first participation in the international Bahá’í convention in the Holy Land to elect the Universal House of Justice, which occurs every five years.
• 1985: Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Bermuda.
Two years ago the Baha’i world community marked the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet founder of the Baha’i Faith.
On Tuesday we celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab, the forerunner and herald of Baha’u’llah and the twin Manifestations of the Baha’i Faith.
Their birthdays are observed worldwide on consecutive days, October 29 and 30, and known as the Twin Holy Birthdays.
The international governing body of the Baha’i Faith, The Universal House of Justice, has shared a message, in honour of Tuesday’s observance.
For the Bermudian Baha’i community this bicentenary coincides with two other related and significant bicentenaries.
The late Queen Victoria was born in the same year as the Bab, on May 24, 1819; on May 23, 1844, the Bab declared His mission in Shiraz, Iran, then Persia. On the same day and year, the first e-message was sent from the Senate chamber of the Capitol in Washington DC to Baltimore by its inventor, Samuel Morse, using
Morse code with the words from Numbers 23: 23: “What hath God wrought!”
The second local connection is that the first two-storey Sessions House of Bermuda’s legislature was built in 1819 — hence its bicentenary year too.
We are moved to suggest that this message examines themes and ideas with which we here in Bermuda are grappling as we all strive to build and contribute to a better home, knowing that our cluster of islands have importance as a global contributor.
You will note that the Shrine of the Bab — which contains the remains of the Bab following His martyrdom in Tabriz on July 9, 1850, six years after His declaration — with its gleaming golden dome adorns Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, the spiritual and administrative centre of the Baha’i Faith.
Throughout this month — and all through this year — the various Baha’i localities in Bermuda, together with its three regions, are hosting a variety of activities to commemorate this momentous occasion.
Dramatic readings at the Baha’i National Centre, gifts of Bermuda Cedar tree saplings/seedlings in an effort to restore some of the hundreds of trees destroyed by Hurricane Humberto thereby restoring the island’s reputation as the garden of the Atlantic Ocean, children and junior youth gatherings, receptions and walks along the Railway Trail are just a few local initiatives taking place here, in concert with the global Baha’i community.
Leighton Rochester is the external affairs liaison for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Bermuda.
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